Friday 31 March 2017

Mini Jem for sale

A few years after he completely restored it, Tony Fysh has now decided to part with one of his Mk2 Mini Jems. It is in fact the car (or its body shell) that was featured in the second blog posting I ever wrote, back in 2010 (see it here). Tony wrote: "Hi Jeroen. I am seriously considering selling my Mk2 Mini Jem due mainly to a lack of use. The car has featured on your website a few years ago (that was here). It underwent a total nut and bolt restoration over a period of just under 2 years. It has been unused for at least 18 months but is still in excellent condition although not concourse."

"I have hundreds of photos of the work from start to finish detailing every aspect of the rebuild. The steel sections in the body were cut out where corroded and replaced before being re-glassed into the shell. It has many period modifications and everything was either replaced or rebuilt to as new. The car gets lots of attention at every show I took it to for the first two years after the rebuild. The Mini Jem is great to drive and I am sure that in the right persons hands will give lots of fun days out. I am unsure but I believe that the car has covered around 550 miles since completion. Many thanks and keep up the great work. (I might start on the second one shortly). I have too many kit car projects and not enough time! Regards Tony." 

Well… This is a great opportunity to buy a truly gorgeous car. I have placed the ad with many technical details in the For Sale Section here. And I'm sure this one will be sold swiftly, too!

UPDATE: Sold within two hours. Told you so!

A nut and bolt restoration, and some 550 miles since. This car is as good underneath as it is here 
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

The body dates back to 1971. Steel sections in it were cut out and replaced where necessary
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

The engine is a 1310cc with a long, long list of new parts. Same goes for the suspension
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

Britax folding roof gives a good view on that lovely dashboard with new instruments
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

Roll over bar fitted, like new petrol tank, exhaust etc., etc. The list is too long!
Picture courtesy Tony Fysh

Thursday 30 March 2017

Biota at Harewood hill climb

Nick Beaumont shared a picture he took at Harewood hill climb in July 1984, when he was active himself in hill climbing his Cox GTM (see the car in action here). That's a Biota Mk2, but Nick or me do not know anything more about it. Any of you may do? Let's see if we can be as successful as with the auto crossing Mini Jem… (see here, here and here).

Biota Mk2 in action at Harewood hill climb. Anyone who know more about it?
Picture courtesy Nick Beaumont

Tuesday 28 March 2017

Broadspeeds of Spain, where are you?

I wrote about it before on these pages (click here), but so far there is no news that I know of about the Broadspeed GTs that were exported to Spain. Several sources claim that quite a few ended up there, but I have never heard of a survivor there. There were dealers, that's a fact. Several garages were marketing the Broadspeed GT in Spain. I already had some old ads from them, but Cristian Sanmartin Castro recently sent me a few more clippings. 

So far, I found the following dealerships/garages offering the GT in Spain:

Garage Nadal, Mallorca
Auto Paris S.L., Barcelona
Garage Serrano, Madrid
Garage Sub-Way, Rosellon, Barcelona

Who knows more?

The 'Broaspeed' advertised by Garage Nadal on the isle of Mallorca
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And another ad from Nadal that mentions the Broadspeed Mini 
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

This is a 1966 clipping from a Spanish newspaper about the Broadspeed GT
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Another dealer, Auto Paris SL, had the car, too, although naming it 'Broatepeet'
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And yet another: Garaje Serrano, who also dealt with Rob Walker or so it seems
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

And yet another - Victor Palomo Monegal of Bacelona advertised with 'Brand new import cars', among them Broadspeed, Walker MiniSprint and Marcos cars...
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 27 March 2017

Autocrossing an early Mini Jem (3)

And the messages regarding the Mk1 Mini Jem that was auto crossed in the late 1970s and early 1980s continue to come in! (See here for part 1 and part 2). This time the news comes from the Hawkins family themselves, who auto crossed it. John Hawkins wrote: "Hi Jeroen. Great to see your articles. Here's our part. Jeff Hawkins was a local clubman driver from Neath, South Wales. He crossed over from road rallying to autocross which was popular in the 1970s to mid 1980s. He was employed at Cam Gears/TRW at Resolven and they sponsored the car. The Jem was bought for £150 via Motoring News as a basic rolling shell which had been used for autocross. It had a hand beaten basin for the drivers head to clear. It was featured in Rally Sport magazine quiz which asked 'What type of car is this?', complete with Cam paint colours."

"We developed the car by swapping all running gear from our Mini. 'S' front brakes, alloy rear back axle, full cage, which was our own design, with the top extended to top subframe mounts. This was to stop the windscreen moving, as pointed out by Ian, as the front pillar had internal damage. Engines ranged from 1,310 - 1,340 - 1297 to 1293. Jeff was a class E BTRDA champion front wheel drive over 1300 class. We also built our own Mk2 Mini Jem road car, which we purchased from London. This was registered 'AAR 8K', which we eventually sold in the 1970s in the Cardiff area (that raises another question!-JB). I have attached two photos but am in the process of digging out more. Thanks. John." Well, thank you John, for clearing up a bit more of a most intriguing autocross entry!

High flying Jem: Jeff Hawkins auto crossed the Mini Jem and had no fear in doing so!
Picture courtesy John Hawkins

Jeff Hawkins worked at Cam Gears/TRW and became BTRDA champion in the front wheel drive over 1300 class - Class E. Seen here with one of his trophies and the Mk1 Mini Jem
Picture courtesy John Hawkins

Friday 24 March 2017

For sale: the Deep Sanderson 301 moulds

With all those moulds coming out of the woodwork lately, ideas spring to people's minds. And so, I was made aware of the fact that the moulds for the Deep Sanderson 301 may also be for sale. And after a while some photos and a price came over, too. I'm not sure if the rear end is included, too, but fact is that this is an interesting lot. Oh - and if you need a rear end, you'll find two of them, taken from these very moulds, for sale here (click and scroll to below). The price is 5,000 GBP. An opportunity for budding car manufacturers? You'll need to fabricate chassis', too, but then you can build what is regarded as one of the most desirable Mini derivatives… Let me know if you are interested and I'll bring you in touch with the seller.

More moulds? See the ones that have turned up very recently here, together with those for the Deep Sanderson. These four were all unearthed this year! What's more to come?

Mini Marcos
Mini Jem
Siva Buggy
Reptune Gullwing

The Deep Sanderson 301 is rare. Approximately 15 were made with just a few survivors
Picture courtesy Carrie Lawrence

The moulds for the Deep Sanderson's low doors come in the deal, too
Picture courtesy Carrie Lawrence

As do the door skins, which come in this box
Picture courtesy Carrie Lawrence

And this is the mould for the car's bonnet
Picture courtesy Carrie Lawrence

Main tub with sills and the signature small air opening at the car's front
Picture courtesy Carrie Lawrence

Wednesday 22 March 2017

The 2017 season is here!

This is the time of the year to start planning your trips and events. What are yours? Let me know if you have something Mini based to tell or show. Stories and photographs of races, projects, road trips and holiday travels: anything goes! Remember this weblog cannot exist without your help.

A spaceframed Fortech Mini racing in the USA
Picture source unknown

Monday 20 March 2017

Mini Marcos four-door - it lives

Remember the lengthened and four-door Mini Marcos, seen here before? Well, it was spotted last weekend again, this time on a car park in Grimsby of all places. The man who saw it there immediately took out out his camera to shoot some pictures of this unlikely creation. And he spoke to the owner, too: "This was in Tesco car park yesterday. I was busy snapping when the old chap turned up. It was originally a Mini Marcos which he has owned and modified over the last 40 years. Now running a Mondeo 1.6. Best car in the whole car park."

There is no doubt this Mini Marcos is much, much modified. The front is hardly recognizable
Picture courtesy

But then, the Mini engine had to make place for a Ford Mondeo mill… Oh, and it has four doors
Picture courtesy

Sunday 19 March 2017

Scamp stolen - help needed (UPDATE: Now found)

A cry for help from Mark Sago Saxton of Leicester. He writes: "Scumbags have stolen my Mini Scamp! I built this car by hand 17 years ago. I am absolutely devastated. A much loved member of my family is missing!" The Scamp was stolen on the night of 15 March from Mark's drive in Leicester, who continues: "I am so upset… I just want my little car back!". If you have seen the car, or am offered it or parts from it, give Mark a call on XXXX XXXXX.

UPDATE 20 March: Good news from Mark: Now found! It was joyridden and found in Eyres Monsall! Police have it in for forensics today but it should be back with me tomorrow. A massive thank you to all in their help and support during this time… I was really quite overwhelmed by the compassion and lengths you went to. Thank you!

Mark's Scamp is a Mk3 that was built up by him plus a friend in 2000
Picture courtesy Mark Sago Saxton

1970 registration is on a black 'Leyland cars estate'. It had 18137 miles on the odometer
Picture courtesy Mark Sago Saxton

Like so many Scamps Mark's car is very distinctive.Have you seen it? Then let him know
Picture courtesy Mark Sago Saxton

Friday 17 March 2017

This GTM is not coming over to Blyton Park - others are

It's only six weeks before the Mk1 Performance Conversions / Maximum Mini Action Day will take place again (it's the fourth in a row) at Blyton Park. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Grand Touring Mini or GTM (more info here) there will be a great display of cars, ranging from very early Cox GTMs to GTM Rossa Mk2s and anything GTM in between. 

Unfortunately Alexis Bouvard is not coming over with his beautiful GTM Coupe from France, but he did send me these lovely studio shots of his car for you to enjoy. Hope to see you somewhere else soon Alexis!

Alexis Bouvard's GTM Coupe looks to be in a superb shape
Picture courtesy Alexis Bouvard

The car is rallied in France, hence the added spot lights
Picture courtesy Alexis Bouvard

Wednesday 15 March 2017

Autocrossing an early Mini Jem (2)

Earlier this month, I wrote about an intriguing photograph of a MiniJem Mk1 in a 1978 autocross - see here. I hoped somebody would recognize the car and tell a bit more about it. Well… I didn't have to wait long! Ian Davies wrote: "Hello Jeroen. Thank you for you interest in the autocross Jem. I have attached some images of the car as I bought it, then a few of it in restoration, though the methods used are a bit primitive, the end result was acceptable. The original semi short stroke engine was built by Bob Fowden in Llanelli. He is still rallying!  I ran the car with a 998 on twin SU carbs. The early Jem had real issues with headroom, especially when wearing crash helmets, hence the roof bumps. Jeff Hawkins and his brother, John I think?, used the car in the BTRDA autocross champs for 1977, '78 and '79. He told me that he actually made money from sponsors and prize money! If I remember right, he won his class in the 1979 championship."

"I took the car to Le Mans in 1989 and used it for 6 months on the road, then was tempted to sell after trying out the white Mk2 in the image. This belonged to Chris Merrick from Stroud. He went on to hillclimb in the British championship for many years and now circuit races a historic single seater. I am in the process of rebuilding the Mk2 to carry on hillclimbing. I currently hillclimb a single seater in the 1100cc class, quick enough but the cars lack character. Hope this info is helpful and good luck with the Le Mans Marcos. I used to own a very early Marcos chassis 6009. Sold to fund house purchase - it was a small house!" Thank you very much Ian, for this lovely story. And keep in touch if you ever come across another Mini-powered hill climber!

UPDATE 27 March 2017: More old stories from the horses' mouth about this car. Click here

Another photograph of the car at the Wildcam Autocross, this one dates back to August 1977
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

This is how Ian found the car in the 1980s, still in its autocross livery and needing serious work
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

The methods used were a bit primitive, says Ian, 'but the end result was acceptable'
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

The roof bulges, added for head clearance, gave the car a new nickname: Mae West
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

ACY 33E in april 1989 - taxed and MOTd again. The wind screen proved a headache as the car had been rolled at some time in its life, pushing the pillars out of line
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

The wheel arches needed serious repair, too, as the fronts had been cut to accommodate
 13" mud and snow tyres!
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

May 1, 1989 at the Singleton Park Show. Ian changed they colour from light blue to dark green
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

September 1989, just before the car was sold. It supposedly lives in japan now. 
Let me know if you have seen it recently
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

Ian's Mk1 Mini Jem, together with the Mk2 Mini Jem of his friend Chris Merrick
Picture courtesy Ian Davies

Tuesday 14 March 2017

Le Mans Mini Marcos - wheels found back, engine bought

Preparation work on the Le Mans car is in full swing, and the best news may be that I have now signed a contract with an engine builder. It took me some time to consider and reconsider things (it's going to cost me an arm and a leg - another!) but I think this little car deserves the right built. And I believe Philippe Quirière of France is just the man to do so. Philippe runs Mini World Center in Serres-Castet in south-western France. His father started the company after having bought, raced and tuned his first Mini Cooper in 1964, so there is no shortage of experience. During the last Rallye Monte Carlo Historique, four Mini Coopers and Cooper 'S's were prepared by Philippe. What's more: he has an impressive stock, having taken over parts from several French tuners and specialists. One of the persons he took over truckloads of bits from is José Albertini, who actually owned the Le Mans car in 1970. I got in touch with José some two months ago, when he told me he'd kept several original parts from my car for ages, until selling them to Philippe about a year ago. Among them the car's original wheels. So not just the same type of early magnesium Minilites, but the actual ones that were fitted to the car when driven at Le Mans in 1966! And it's not just one set, but two of them, both magnesium; one with the groove and one without, as they can be seen on many historic photographs with the grooved ones on the front and the smooth ones on the back. (UPDATE: the grooved ones are not Minilites but are very rare wheels made by Cghris Lawrence and John A. Pearce, more here)

Then there is the engine, of which I will tell you more in the near future. What I can say for now is that Philippe will use a 1275 Cooper 'S' block that is believed to have ran under a thousand kilometers from new. Try to find that! The crankshaft that is going to be used is quite something, too. This is an AEG 480 Cooper 'S' crank that was bought in 1968 by Jose Albertini from Jim Whitehouse, who'd bought it two years before directly from BMC's Special Tuning department in Abingdon. Whitehouse was, of course, the man who set up Arden Engineering and developed the 8-port head, of which he sold the patent to BMC in 1967. The crank for my car has never seen use. The AEA 649 Cooper 'S' camshaft that Philippe will use also comes from the new old stock of Albertini.

But I get carried away by all this exiting mechanical news. First I need to work on the car's body. Quite a job on its own. I have started sanding down the layers of paint, which turns out to be kind of nightmarish. The original layer of blue and yellow as well as the white racing roundels are sprayed on as thin as they get, and the same goes for the next layers (light blue, green, orangey-red, maroon). However, then there are two more layers of red, which are considerably thicker and on top of that there is a massive layer of primer. Even with a very rough sanding paper it takes ages to get that off! Never the less it was fun to do it at places where I knew there should be a hole, and then discover it, too! I'll try to get off as many of it in order to show it nicely at Blyton Park, without upsetting the neighbors too much here...

This is one of the two original sets of magnesium Minilites the car used at Le Mans in 1966
Picture Philippe Quirière

 The Cooper 'S' block for the car. It has run a thousand kilometers at maximum. When do you find that?
Picture Philippe Quirière

AEG 480 crankshaft and AEA 649 Cooper 'S' camshaft, both new old stock from José Albertini
Picture Philippe Quirière

The '66 crank was bought from Jim 'Arden Engineering' Whitehouse in 1968 and has never seen use
Picture Philippe Quirière

Thursday 9 March 2017

The Stimson Safari Six on Tomorrow's World

Oh, the 1970s! This video was uploaded from the BBC archive and shows the Stimson Safari Six in its full splendor in Tomorrow's World. Just a quote: "The trappings of the good life are so freely available that every individual is now in danger of looking like everybody else… But here's the prototype of a new British line of cars which the makers claim is the first to combine fun and individuality with sheer practical motoring." You'll have to love this.

Video courtesy BBC Archive

Wednesday 8 March 2017

McCoys - a market round up

When you're in for a Birchall McCoy, this may be the time to take your chance as several have made it to the market in the last couple of weeks, with prices going up quickly now, or so it seems. Let's have a closer look at them.

This blue car has turned up for sale in Kings Lynn. The seller states it comes with massive history file including wiring diagrams, receipts for parts, details of work carried out and even a log of petrol used! Ad here. Oops - just sold for 2,500 GBP.

Then, there's a red car in Hull, looking just about as good. It's based on a 1979 Mini 1275 GT, says the seller and he also states the car comes with a history file including the original purchase invoice, previous annual test certificates, McCoy Owners Club magazines and more. Ad here.

Up next, is a body shell in Lincoln. An unwanted project, says the seller in his ad. This McCoy does come with valid registration though - a Q-plate dating back to december 1986. Ad here.

Last is a car that was recently sold at an auction, but which I want to include here never the less. It's another good looking example and was estimated to sell at £1500 - 1900. That proved to be a judgement too low as it made £2450 + buyers premium. See it for yourself on the auctioneers website here. I told you Mini derivatives are in the lift…

Tuesday 7 March 2017

Mini Marcos moulds resurface

This month appears to be Moulds Month! only a couple of weeks ago we saw Siva Buggy moulds turn up in New Zealand (click here), followed by the rediscovery of a set of Mini Jem moulds soon after (click here). And now, a set of moulds for the Mk3 Mini Marcos has turned up. They are, in fact, the moulds used by Brian Raubenheimer in South-Africa where the Mini Marcos was made under a license in 1967 and 1968. Raubenheimer did not produce an awful lot of African Marcoses (the Mini Marcos Owners Club believes there were about 40), and that may be the reason why these moulds are believed to be in a fine shape - the pictures seem to confirm it. The new owner, who tells me he bought them together with the rights of manufacturing new bodies, wishes to remain anonymous but wrote: "If someone is interested in new made parts, they can contact you first." Drop me line when you are.

Mk3 Mini Marcos moulds seems to be in a fine condition. They date back to 1967
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

About 40 Raubenheimer Mk3 Mini Marcoses are believed to have been built in South-Africa
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

The moulds have now been sold, supposedly with the right to remanufacture new shells
Picture Jeroen Booij archive

Monday 6 March 2017

Boxer Sprint found

You know the Nimbus Coupe, do you? Then you may have heard of the Boxer Sprint, too. This car was developed by Ian Shearer, who came up with the Nimbus, too. However, the Boxer was never a success, and apart from the 1986 prototype, no more cars envisaged despite it being a cover car for Kitcars and Specials magazine in September '86. Shearer sold the car many moons ago, regretting it very soon after, but he never found it back. And so, I dropped him a line immediately after I'd been sent over a picture of the car. It looked rather sorry for itself but at least it was still there. You can imagine Ian's urge to see it. He wrote to me:

"My old Boxer looks complete, any idea where it is?? I would love to get it back."

I only knew it was photographed in Lydd, and Ian replied: "Wow!! Lydd is not far away and I've brought my trailer with me, perhaps I might get lucky." A day later he came back to me: "I have had a quick look around the most obvious yards in Lydd, but as it is very rural and a bit of a rabbit warren, I have not yet found any leads to the whereabouts of my old Boxer. I just hope I can find it before the yard owner disposes of it. I don't suppose the chap who spotted it has got back to you with a more specific location?"

Unfortunately he hadn't.

Ian again: "Thanks Jeroen, I have a couple of places to search tomorrow, but when the weather improves; hopefully at the weekend, a friend who runs air taxi/medivac from Lydd airport said he would give me 30 minutes in one of his helicopters to help with the search."

But then the photographing guy did come back to me with a location. Ian was over the moon: "Well! That's saved a helicopter ride. Today would not be a good day for air recon, everything is covered in a light dusting of snow. We're off to make contact straight after breakfast and too take a few pics. Thank you sooo much for your input Jeroen, lets hope I can secure it quickly!"

So far, so good. Ian went over to the place to have a look, but still hasnt bought it. He wrote: "All is very slow, the owner tells me that the car is part of a company and will only be sold as such? I am meeting with him next week, hopefully to sort out the details. Fingers crossed that it does not take to long, although I am not to worried about extended time scales, as long as I achieve my goal…"

The sole Boxer Sprint, found on a farm place in Lydd recently. Hopefully soon to be moved
Picture Tobe Bailey

The car being built at Ian Shearer's place in the mid-1980s. Note the moulds behind it
Picture Ian Shearer / Jeroen Booij archive

Completed at Tollgate Garage in Rye, from where it was marketed, too. Prices started at 695 GBP
Picture Ian Shearer / Jeroen Booij archive

September 1986: cover star of Kitcars and Specials magazine. It did not help sales though…
Picture Jeroen Booij archive